FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
People who suffer from untreated hearing loss often find it extremely difficult to participate in social activities, even within their own family. Even a mild hearing loss can lead to a lower quality of life. Many people with a hearing loss complain of difficulty communicating with family and friends, feeling isolated and left out, lack of concentration, embarrassment, headaches, tiredness and a loss of self confidence. Untreated hearing loss not only affects your quality of life, but over time it also affects the brain’s ability to remember common everyday sounds. When the hearing nerves are not stimulated, the brain ‘forgets’ the sounds over time and becomes unable to understand them. Therefore, it is important to have your hearing tested as soon as you suspect a hearing problem.
If you experience any of the following, then you need a hearing test
• People seem to be mumbling
• You have to strain to hear when someone talks or whispers
• You have difficulty hearing someone call from behind or in another room
• You need to watch a speaker’s lips more closely to follow conversation
• Following a conversation is difficult when you are in a group of people
• You have to turn up the volume on the TV or radio
• You have problems hearing clearly on the telephone
• You have difficulty hearing at the theatre, cinema or other venues
• You find it hard to hear in noisy restaurants or in the car
• You have begun to limit your social activities due to difficulty hearing
• Family or friends mention that they often have to repeat themselves
The outcome is not inevitable that hearing aids are required but more often than not, hearing instruments are the remedy and they will vastly improve the quality of life for you and your family. Approach them with an open mind and you will be pleasantly surprised by how effective, comfortable and discreet they can be
In adults, the biggest cause of hearing loss is aging. However, the age at which it is being found is getting younger due to the increased exposure to noise. There can be many other causes of hearing loss including ear wax, infections, genetic disorders etc. Certain types of hearing loss can be treated medically or surgically. For a majority of people, the answer often lies in hearing aids.
You can self refer to a private audiologist, just like you would for a dentist or optician. Alternatively, you can contact your ENT or GP. Your health professional will be able to advise you on the best form of treatment.
For many people hearing aids are seen to be of tremendous benefit. Hearing aid technology has been improving rapidly and digital hearing aids have led to superior sound quality and sleek looking appearance. Hearing aids do not restore your hearing to normal, but they improve it significantly. It becomes easier to hear what other people say. Hearing aids increase your self confidence and help you participate in activities that you may otherwise have avoided due to your hearing loss.
Hearing aids must be chosen for you after a thorough testing and assessment process. Hearing aids must be fit for you in your ears. Measurements are taken of sound in your ears to ensure that loud sounds are never harmful, but soft sounds are audible and conversational sounds are comfortable. Hearing aids should only be provided if the audiologist can do the follow up, rehabilitation and personalization for you. When you get your hearing aids from elsewhere, we cannot guarantee any satisfaction from it and also cannot take responsibility for it’s servicing and repairs. It is always preferable that you obtain your hearing aids from a qualified audiologist that you can have regular access to.
There are over 6+ major hearing aid manufacturers, each producing exceptional quality products. Which hearing aid is right for you is determined by the results of your audiogram, your lifestyle, your cosmetic requirements and your dexterity. It is also important that spare parts, repair facilities and warranty services for your model of hearing aid are easily available to you
Think of them as miniature computers designed and customized for your own hearing. And when you consider that you are getting one of your senses for the price of a holiday, it may just help put things into perspective.
Never buy any hearing aids that have not been designed for you. You must have a proper hearing test and the hearing instrument must be programmed to suit your hearing loss. Many people waste money on buying cheap instruments off websites or magazines. However, these devices are found to be non-beneficial and can also put users off obtaining proper hearing aids.
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Seema has been bestowed with the prestigious Presidential National Award of Moran of the Order of the Burning Spear (Jamhuri Day Honours 2021) by HE The President Uhuru Kenyatta and The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta. She has been recognized for Clinical & Professional Excellence and contribution to the lives of people living with hearing loss, and prevention of disability, at local, national and international levels.
An article by Seema Shah published in the Canadian Audiologist
Seema’s interview with Crossover on the importance of addressing hearing difficulties and why she is so passionate about her work.